What’s in a door?

When we landed in Dublin this summer, we needed a home, searching the websites, there was a lone house that kept calling out – all from the power of one hero shot: the front door – (the previous tenants allowing no internal photos).

The gentle Farrow and Ball style grey, the generous fanlight, kind-of-awesome steps completed by a warming tumble of wisteria.  You know there just aren’t going be any interior-travesties inside.

So here I am, in Dublin, her streets, rhythmic and soothing punctuated by doors that speak out, so I have snapped some of the ‘Dub’ characters….

There’s a lot of these: shades of chic dark grey – heritage cream, framing of regular planters (note the conservative swag sneaking in here), they are  tick-box posh-safe  = Tad dull.

What about the neighbours? I guess these two stalwarts of grand Dublin suburbia didn’t discuss their colour schemes when they created the union jack in red-white-and blue harmony. Conservative mes-alliance.

This  is my favourite on our street.

Vivid-Turquoise green with large chinoiserie temple jars in the fan light, and “I don’t really care planters”.  You know: they must be slightly eccentric, possibly older, good book collection and have some faded chintz knocking around.  Longing to go inside.

Dublin 6, 1860’s

Round the corner I always think, I’d like to come back home for Christmas here: I know its conservative, and that tarmac drive but the pillar box red is rich, the plants spilleth over and the ‘tear drop’ fan light is just too pretty especially as it talks too the scallop edged pelmets –  I think that  must be a nice granny

Dublin 6, 1850’s

 This door almost has an Alice in Wonderland feel, the childish lure of stepping-stones,  unruly flowers and sunshiny yellow door, Can I peek inside?…

Dublin6, 1850’s

 Then there’s the unloved and the untended,

Miss Haversham’s spirit  is loitering somewhere behind this door, a palpable air of lost love.

The next door stopped me in my tracks, the ‘deck chair’ door covers –  to protect the paint ?! –  I thought the paint was the protection. What a dreary, scrooge of a welcome –  tea on plastic covered sofas anyone ?

Dublin 6, 19th C entrance abused by 20th century vandals

Lets end in the pink, I love a pink door –  my favourite London house had a bright pink door with dark grey windows and window planters  spilling over with pink cyclamen –  cosy.

How to do it and how not…. listed below.

First a travesty in pink, hard Victorian red brick mis-aligned with uber-girlie pink, it just doesn’t work.  Interesting interiors are all about the energy and tensions created by ‘contrast’, but some contrasts are inappropriate. Who knows what horrors lie inside?

Dublin 4, 1870’s

A gentle harmony, she-sells sea shells on the sea shore –enhanced by the delicate fanlight tracery,I’d like some overflowing greenery and a great knocker to complete the picture.

Dublin 6, 1820’s

Turns out these doors are meant to be eye-catching –  the ‘Irish Georgian Society’ states:

“In the understated facades of Dublin city’s domestic architecture, the door case and door provided the main opportunity to assert architectural style and flair. Making a strong statement about the status of the building and by extension its owner”.(paraphrased)

 Not a lots changed then?

 Some of the quick facts were:

–        all stonework was painted ‘portland stone’ (Little Green Paint  co. – here we come)

–        door colours tended to be dark, only the last 30 years has seen an explosion in colour.

–        door numbers and ironmongery only really got going with the post man’s deliveries.

–        The  fanlight’s delicate tracery was a response to limited sizes available in glass plate, Victorian technology over came this.  What is it they say about invention?

–        All classical doors are just that,  directly inspired by Ancient Civilization’s architecture and the architectural orders –  indeed elements of the Roman Coliseum, pagan temples’ entrances and decorative motifs -you know- those refined urns or pretty lyres and curling acanthus leaves.  These can all be seen in a residential terrace or garden square near you.

Let’s  finish, where we started, with a fantasy moment:  A Georgian front door (mine obviously) in gloss grey-green, with dark bronze-grey surround and window frames –  in Georgian times wood work was dark. I’d like tarnished metal accessories including a ‘Goddess’ door knocker – (why not) and an over-scaled house number – 1.

Fantasy Shopping List

p.s. there will be more on this, we haven’t even started on the joys of doorknockers and the perfect accessories….

This pineapple knocker came all the way from Nantucket USA via hand luggage…

2 thoughts on “What’s in a door?

  1. Pingback: Plus ca Change: Make an Entrance | adecorativeaffair

  2. Pingback: The Way Home | adecorativeaffair

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